Fitting in Fitness as an Intern

Working 80 hour weeks, boring grunt work, living off coffee and donut crumbs, and having a life that’s dictated by their bosses phone… these are just a couple of things that jump to my mind when I think of the word “intern”. Not much good comes from it. And trying to fit in fitness in that chaos… well that can be tough.

I’m super grateful to work at an association where none of those things actually apply to me.. except the coffee — and that’s by choice. Everyone knows not to talk to me until I’ve had my morning cup of joe. Jokes aside, fitting in fitness while starting my internship in a brand new city has proven to be a lot less difficult than I imagined. For one, I actually work decently regular hours now… and my life isn’t in total chaos. Because I’m simply focusing on the internship, I’m not thinking about course work, readings, or reflections outside of my work hours which has actually been a nice shift in pace.

That being said, a few things I picked up during my busy time of the year has proven to be helpful in figuring out how I work in my workouts and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Keep a calendar. The people who know me (and actually know me) know that my calendar runs my life… sometimes more than it should. If it’s not on my calendar it’s probably not happening. I make sure to keep a calendar of the important things in my life… and on my crazy weeks sometimes that means making sure I block off an hour for gym time.
  2. Meal Prep. Every Sunday I make time to make at least a majority (if not more) of my meals for the week. That way, when I run late in the morning or I’m just too tired to make something for the next day, I know that I can just pop a prepped lunch in my bag. This one helps save money too!
  3. Calendar your meal prep. Yes, I’m combining/repeating 1 & 2 because it’s that important. Cooking a huge amount of food on a Sunday night is the last thing anyone wants to do in their last few hours of rest before a week of work. I get it. I happen to love my job so this isn’t much of a problem… but if you work it in ahead of time then you’ll be ok.
  4. Make a commitment. When I pencil something in with my friends, I don’t bail. I don’t change my plans because I suddenly want to go to the museums. And if something does come up, I try to reschedule. Treat your gym time and meal prep time as a commitment to yourself — to your fitness. Commit and don’t bail.
  5. Be flexible. When I go to the gym, I am more than willing to shuffle around as it is. I know that as long as I get my workouts in… I’m happy. And since my weekends are cardio/active rest days, I’m never too concerned about having two consecutive workouts too close to each other. If I see two guys trying to work in on the bench, I’ll either find dumbells or switch a day at the gym. But never skip leg day.
  6. Remember it’s a lifestyle. Fitness isn’t another chore in your life. Many of you choose to brush your teeth, some of you make your bed, many of you take showers (I hope). Believe it or not, these things are all choices to decide to make. Choices that are a part of your lifestyle. Make it a part of who you are, not another thing on your checklist. See how the shift in mentality can change how you see fitness in your day to day life!

A lot of these things are just common sense for some people, but sometimes it takes hearing it from someone else to get it. Be committed to fitting in fitness and you’ll make it work. My friends and colleagues know that fitness is important to me, so I make it a point to remind them that I am my priority. If you have tips or other thoughts I’d love to hear them below!

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